The Unexpected Husband(5)

By: Lindsay Armstrong

‘You don’t believe that for one moment, do you?’ he countered.

She laughed again. ‘How could you tell?’

He paused. ‘I just have the feeling you...’ He hesitated, and wondered what use it was to ponder any further about Daisy Kelso’s surprising sister. ‘Oh, well, it doesn’t matter, I guess.’ But as he stood up he was curiously relieved to discover he was an inch taller than she was.

‘No. It doesn’t,’ she agreed, with an oddly significant little glance.

He shook her hand, then tore the drawing off the pad and gave it to her.

‘I’ll get it framed—don’t bother to come down; I’ll let myself out,’ she murmured, with a look of delicious mischief in her eyes now. And she went round the desk, slung her navy bag on her shoulder and strode out.

She was still chuckling as she walked along the street in Balmain where Joe Jordan had his townhouse. It was a lovely afternoon and, since its revival in the 1960s, Balmain was a pleasant spot.

One of Sydney’s oldest suburbs, on a peninsula into

the harbour with a few miles of coastline, its fortunes had been varied. But although there were plenty of interesting and historic buildings from its early times of affluence, it now had a trendy population, and she wouldn’t mind a townhouse there herself, she thought, as she waited for the ferry to take her across the harbour. Especially one as nicely restored as Joe Jordan’s.

But then, he could be described as trendy himself, she mused, which she was not, particularly, yet he wasn’t quite what she’d expected...

The ferry came and she stepped aboard and turned to have a last look not only at Balmain but at the home suburb of, yes, she had to admit it, a slightly intriguing man.

That evening, as she was putting the finishing touches to her packing, Daisy wandered into her room and sat down at the dressing table.

‘I'm going to miss you, Lid,’ she said as she unpinned the glorious fall of her dark hair and started to brush it.

‘Me too.’ Lydia sat down on the bed and eyed her sister’s back. ‘But you’ll have plenty to occupy yourself, what with the Musica Viva tour and the start of the sym phony season.’

Daisy sighed and lowered her hand. ‘Can’t seem to get excited about it, somehow.’ She swung round on the stool. ‘it’s my biological clock,’ she added. ‘1 can feel it ticking away madly.’

‘it actually ticks?’

Daisy pulled a face. ‘You know what I mean. I just wish,’ she said intensely, ‘you could meet Joe and give me your opinion. Then I’d know whether to go ahead or not.’

Lydia experienced an inner tremor of guilt, but she

said easily, ‘There’s an old saying—when in doubt, do now. To be honest, Daisy, I think you should put up with your biological clock a bit longer and wait for the right man to come along.’

‘So you’ve said. But you’re not twenty-nine—I’ll be thirty in two months!’

‘Maybe you’re confusing the dreaded thirty—remember when we used to think anyone over thirty was ancient?—with the biological clock?’

Daisy smiled briefly. ‘I just keep thinking my life is slipping away from me, and that there may not be a Mr Right out there for me.’

‘So Joe,’ Lydia said carefully, ‘is not necessarily Mr Right?’

‘Joe’s lovely, most of the time. He can also be moody and sarcastic, and there are times when I don’t think he knows I exist.’

Lydia smoothed a pair of khaki shorts across her lap as she wondered how to ask her sister whether she’d actually slept with Joe Jordan. This was one point Daisy had been reticent about, but then she was always reticent, if not to say capable of closing up like a clam with her family on this touchy subject, because they, above all, knew how frequently she fell in and out of love. But would Joe Jordan squire around a beautiful woman he was not sleeping with? A woman who had indicated her willingness on their first date? She doubted it deeply, Lydia decided.

She asked cautiously instead, ‘Would you say you’re having an affair with him, Daisy?’

‘Not exactly. I mean, when I decided I wanted him for the father of my child, I made most of the running, you could say. Then I thought—Hey, this guy is also something else: he can give you goosebumps just by